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They've almost got it right...
on 6 September 2000
At last, Polydor releases a proper Style Council singles collection - almost.
Unlike 'The Singular Adventures...', which included re-worked or remixed versions of early tracks ("You're the best thing", "Money-go-round", "Long hot summer"), all the tracks on 'Greatest Hits' appear in their original mixes - and in chronological order, even - which alone makes this collection worth getting. Even "Come to Milton Keynes" and "The big boss groove", which were left off the earlier collection, are here - though "Soul deep" is still missing, and "Long hot summer 89" was presumably not included in order to avoid redundancy.
At the same time, 'Greatest Hits' and 'The Singular Adventures...' are sort of funhouse mirror opposites of each other:
1. 'Greatest Hits' includes the 12-inch or LP versions of "Shout to the top!", "The lodgers", and "It didn't matter", which appeared on 'The Singular Adventures...' in their 7-inch versions. Similarly, it includes the 7-inch versions of "Long hot summer", "My ever changing moods", and "Have you ever had it blue", which appeared on 'The Singular Adventures...' in their 12-inch versions.
Then there's the weird case of "You're the best thing". On 'The Singular Adventures...', we got a re-worked/remixed version of the 7-inch, with the extra half-verse in the middle repeated. On 'Greatest Hits', what we get is essentially the 7-inch arrangement of the LP version (minus the brief percussion-only intro), with the extra verse completely absent. I don't recall this being on the 12-inch, so its inclusion here is a bit of a mystery.
2. Like 'The Singular Adventures...' and 'Here's Some That Got Away' before it, 'Greatest Hits' sports a 'Cost Of Loving'/'Jerusalem'-era cover photo. Why Polydor insists on using photos and design motifs (especially that orange!) associated with the period widely considered to be the band's nadir on what are otherwise supposed to be "best of" collections is still baffling.
That said, 'Greatest Hits' is still a welcome addition to anyone's Style Council collection, and a vast improvement on the three other compilations released since 'Here's Some That Got Away'. The tracks here don't seem to suffer (or suffer as much) from the over-compression that mars the rest of the Style Council remaster series (you'd think that this would have been addressed in the two years since the release of the box set); and the versions of "Money-go-round", "You're the best thing", "The lodgers", and "Have you ever had it blue" have not been available on CD until now; and the liner notes are probably the best I've seen on a TSC compilation. A few Cappucino Kid sleevenotes would have been nice, though...